Early Season Pre-Season Preview & More

International duty called and the Arsenal players turned up in force, bagging a hatful of goals to boot. Chu Young Park probably thought he would be leading the way with a hat-trick against international minnows, Lebanon. Phil Oakey never saw that one coming and nor did the San Marino goalkeeper as Robin van Persie bagged four of the eleven Dutch goals whilst Aaron Ramsey chipped in with a goal in the first Welsh victory in a competitive match in just under five years. It is always heartwarming when minnows do well.

The Arsenal squad including all of the new boys has been announced for the Premier League with no surprises from Wenger, no omissions through the manager able to construct a squad for the competitions being faced. Which is more than can be said for Andre Villas-Boas who has left out Romelu Lukaku from the Champions League squad, Chelsea already have their quota of non-homegrown players in their squad.

It highlights a problem that Manchester City will also face in years to come, namely that buying all of the talent in the world is fine and dandy but you cannot play it. And it takes a particularly lazy and greedy type of player to join those clubs knowing that they will not be in the team.

It is going to be interesting to see the media reaction to this. Had it been Arsenal the outcry would be deafening but Chelsea, City or United? Mild chastisement. That is not to claim an outright bias, simply that annoying Arsenal is, to borrow a phrase from our political past, like being savaged by a dead sheep. The club is simply too nice. Journalists wore it almost as a badge of pride to be barred from Carrington but the critical pieces never emerged because their paymasters want the pieces that sell. Arsenal do sell but not as much. It is not the club which is the problem, simply the economics.

And the economics of now tells you that criticising Arsenal sells. Some of it has an interesting historical bent, David Lacey picking on my bug bear that Arsenal do not defend trophies, no title or cup has been retained since the 1930s. By stooping to the exceedingly low levels of his peers, Lacey misses an opportunity to study why this is the case, why do Arsenal managers have a blind spot that prevents them strengthening their squads to retain trophies. That, as much as anything else, is why the current crop at Barcelona are being elevated to the pantheon of great football teams in history.

For the most part though, the analysis has been risible, ably assisted by a Fifth Column. Panic buying has become de rigeur amongst some, all of the signings seen as a reaction to the 8-2 mauling at Old Trafford. That Arteta was contacted before the weekend, according to the player, is conveniently ignored. That, according to Bild, Arsenal and Mertesacker had agreed a deal for 2012 when he was free is conveniently ignored, brought forward only when negotiations with Bolton utterly collapsed.

Such information does not fit with the scheme. Nor does waiting for the players to show their abilities before they are crudely written off. Apartly Mertesacker is not as good as Gary Cahill, the Germans record of international appearances reduced to a footnote because they were not for England. Quite simply, it is ludicrous to suggest that Mertesacker is a poor man’s Cahill simply because of nationality. And please do not over-rate Premier League experience, Fernando Torres nailed the coffin lid on that one last year.

There is a determination to condemn, Arteta written off as a winger as opposed to the central midfielder that everyone else seems to believe him to be. I am as happy as the next man to read a distinguished critique of the transfer window but that was not it. Nor was this one or this one. If questions are asked of Park then so be it, he is genuinely unknown to most but his record suggests he will be a good squad acquisition.

That the squad is weakened by the departures of Cesc, Nasri and Clichy is unquestionable. Gibbs is too injury-prone at the moment, to be considered anything other than a long-term replacement. Santos, we shall see if he is as good as Clichy – or better – but I am not concerned with his appearances for Brazil, simply those in an Arsenal shirt.

Crucially, Wenger strengthened the positions which were required at the end of last season, some internally, some externally. Mertesacker is the big centre back demanded. Frimpong the defensive midfielder. Gervinho, Park and Benayoun all put pressure on Arshvin, Rosicky, Walcott and Chamakh to perform to high levels, something Nicklas Bendtner will now get the chance to do at Sunderland rather than in his head.

The midfield is going to be different without Cesc but with Jack Wilshere due to return to training, the Catalan is being replaced by the sum of two parts – Arteta and Wilshere – rather than an individual. That aspect will be the most interesting. More important than that, the team has no one individual who is bigger than it. The midfield has some depth to it, now it needs to find consistency. There are concerns, Frimpong and Song could go to the Cup of Nations next year, Chamakh and Gervinho as well, stretching resources certainly in midfield.

So what to expect from this season? An improvement on current form. A solitary point from the three games so far was the nightmare scenario but not irretrievable since two of those fixtures were against rivals from the top six. That is not as bad as it seems, the extent of the last defeat intensifying the situation. Key to all of this is for the new players to bed in quickly and wins to be accumulated. If that happens, a top four place cannot be ruled out. Luck plays a big part and that will determine anything more.

’til Tomorrow.

Posted on September 3, 2011, in Arsenal, Champions League, Football, Premier League, Premiership, Soccer, Transfer Gossip. Bookmark the permalink. 162 Comments.

  1. Good article until I got to the last paragraph… top 4 cannot be ruled out? And you wonder why certain people aren’t as stoked with our transfer window dealings as they perhaps would like to be.

    Personally I would like to think we can challenge for the league with this team, and if we can’t then Arsenal have failed in this window.

  2. Great post yogi, what saddens is the fact that even arsenal ex players get dragged down and feel they have to toe the line sad really sad

  3. Fan from Singapore that has been reading the blog for some time. Good blog and articles, keep it up!

    I’d like to comment on an issue that was being debated in the comments section for the previous posts: Arsenal’s presence in Asia (in this case Southeast Asia).

    I won’t claim to say that this is the same across Southeast Asia, or even Asia for that matter. In Singapore though, majority of the fans are supporters of the Red Devils (explains the rumours of listing on the Singapore Stock Exchange), followed by a sizeable minority of Liverpool fans, then Arsenal, and in recent years, Chelsea. What’s interesting to note though, is that only Arsenal has bothered to extend their presence beyond fanbase/commercial exchanges. In fact, there’s an Arsenal academy that’s flourishing (from what I understand) in Singapore (and goes to show the extent of Arsenal’s scouting network).

    As a person living in a rather football-mad country, I’m proud and grateful at the same time for Arsenal’s efforts in improving the quality of our local lads. That being said though, I agree that much more could be done to improve Arsenal’s commercial presence in Singapore.

  4. two good posts in the last two days..

    to pick up on the AcoN, frimpong may not yet go..

    gervinho will be missed but i cant see us losing no sleep over chamakh..and if the worst comes to the worst we have the january window and a whole stack of untouched kitty from the summer to remedy the situation..
    hopefully lessons have been learned in previous jan windows
    personally i would follow up our offers for cahill and hazard/gotze just to make sure..

    adam i dont think if we dont challenge we have failed this window..its the end of an era and the beginning of a new one..a cescless one.
    weve rebuilt this window and it will take time to adapt..top 4 will actually be the success this year..and if we use the next couple of windows to add a few more we can challenge properly next season..

  5. Dare I say!? YW you choose to follow OOU’s posting with this? I am not gainsaying anything you said but look at the reply’s he got from his posting!! PLEASE BUILD ON THAT!!

    Yogi, in my opinion your blog is the best on the net but honour what goes before… feel let down… sorry…….just felt very positive yesterday and now am back to having to work at it??

  6. yw , sorry to be negative but jack could be out for eight weeks

  7. It’s realistic irish.

    Nothing in Yogi’s post gainsays the analysis of Big Al.

    This season will be a tough fight. It’s a new side. Not everything will work all of the time.

  8. On a different note, Conor Henderson. I have been watching him for a few years now and have to say I really rate him. In some ways a carbon copy of Ramsey but at the same time more adventurous whilst more inclined to chase down a mistake that he feels is personal!? Not sure if that is a good thing or not but he has been impressing me for a few years. Obviously I am Irish and biased but trust me he is very tactically aware, dare I say more so than Ramsey, and as an added bonus he loves to sweep in from the wings which is kind of weird because he is a central midfielder. Watch him play and you will get what I am saying.

  9. C’bob – My point was a simple one. After an 8-2 drubbing, we had some positive build up. Why not just follow on from that?

  10. to take up the point of anti arsenal press sky sports hammered arsenal and wenger for months this surely must effect players club fans is there no action that can be taken against these type of attacts from the media

  11. We spoke to Brazilian journalist Felipe Rocha of Radio Globo to find out more about the Gunners’ new Brazilian star.

    Andre SantosAndre Santos
    “I think Andre is a skilful player, and he is experienced as well with the Brazilian national team. He also had great moments playing for Corinthians, one of the biggest clubs in Brazil. He won two tournaments there – the Championship and the Brazilian Cup.

    “I think he is better when he goes forward – not so much at the back in my opinion – but going forward he is very skilful and can help Arsenal for sure. He is not a particularly defensive player. In Brazil we do this, it is our way of playing football – we use his position to go forward.

    “It is difficult to say how quickly he will adapt. The Premier League is intensive, and it may be difficult. But I think he will be OK. The way Arsenal play will help him – like Barcelona they have a beautiful way of playing, and for Andre it will make life easier to adapt.

    “I think it is a good opportunity for Arsenal, and even more so for Andre. It is the biggest opportunity for him to play for one of the best clubs in the world and he has the capacity to do well. In the four years he is there he can become one of the most important players in the squad.”

  12. 8 weeks,where has that come from ?
    I thought he was back training

  13. It is really appalling to witness the tabloids’ level of knowledge on football – a topic which they don’t seem to mind covering even though the apparent lack of any insight whatsoever. Arteta a winger? Come on, Paul. Really? Liverpools new ultra-fluid front three of Suarez, Carroll and… Downing. You have to be kidding us, Stevie. We all know what fluids Andy prefers before a midnight wife-caressing and I’m really of the opinion that Downing could not even swim for two yards with those wooden legs of his.

    Cheers from Finland.

    JG

  14. I can see the English press running with the quote that he is not that good defensively.

    “not so much at the back in my opinion”

  15. The English football press are low life scum – the whole lot of them. (LOL – Did I just generalize).

    Or was it the punditocracy.

    Maybe it’s just the fact that I reach out for a sick back every time they come on screen.

  16. I rest my case: “Today’s low-key piece, following on from yesterday’s high” -YW. Come on Yogi it was a high!!!!

    Either way you will love this video!!!!!

    Going to bed now 🙂

  17. george , jack has broke down in training twice ,it looks like he keeps coming back to early and rest is the only way to cure it unless he has an op ( which he doesnt need at the moment ) . just hope hes not this seasons rosicky or vermaelen

  18. Darius – Please watch the link I just posted and then find some way to embed it as it is hilarious but for some reason I cannot imbed these days. Is this a trans-pond/face-tube/you-book thing?

  19. Darius – Yes you did just generalise

  20. Eboue scored 5 goals by the way tonight.

  21. I don’t believe Yogi is being negative by suggesting a top four finish would be our aim. OOU put forward a very positive post yesterday and Yogi is just adding balance. At the moment top four finish this season will do me, Wenger has started to rebuild the team, it will take time and the will be ups and downs.

    If we go on to win a trophy, be it FA or Carling cup then that will be a bonus. Last season, manager, players and fans got ahead of themselves by suggesting that we could win all four competitions. This season, lets try and be more humble in our expectations. Then if we do win the EPL…….. what a fucking celebration to be had in North London and all the other parts of the world where the Gunners are kings.

  22. Darius, Patrick Barclay is good.Then its a struggle.

  23. OK George – we’ll spare Paddy from the euthanasia. the rest need to be put in a bunker and gassed. They are a disgrace to the profession of journalism. Lazy, jingoistic punks – the whole lot of them – well, except Paddy.

  24. What a surprise! Bad pr, negative press, clueless pundits etc.

    Come on Irish. What do you expect?

    YW is right. We are in a war for that fabled top-four. United, Chelsea, City and Liverpool have all strengthened. We need to turn the ship around and do our fighting on the pitch not in the press. With all the experience we acquired in the window I think we have a group that is mentally prepared. Lets hope they gel as a team very soon.

  25. why do people keep telling me clichy was good?like f**k he was, he was just another of our defenders who could not defend…and there are 3 center backs at the club who should be shown the door..my rant is based on results therefore fact!gutted we didnt get cahill.

  26. Shotta _ I am not saying YW is wrong. All I am saying is that from OOU’s posting there was an awful lot of positivity. We should take that and build on it. Yes YW should post his thoughts (it is his blog after all!!) but do it in a way that builds on what OOU started.

  27. Tad – Compare Cahill to Vidic and tell me their similarities and their differences?

  28. Yeah – we should show the door that ex-Madrid central defender that Robbie Savage says we wasted money on instead of buying Cahill – the world’s best defender and goal machine.

    @Irish – I hope the couple in that clip aren’t married. Good play with the speech synthesizers though.

  29. Darius – Glad you liked it 🙂 . On another note, will you be posting again or are you taking a prolonged leave of absence?

  30. Didn’t RM buy Diarra who we thought sucked only to find out we where right? They are sooooo smart!!!!!

  31. shotta
    i think we can pip liverpool to 4th

    they have strengthened but its more the kenny factor than anything..i dont rate their squad higher than ours, suarez is a top striker and reinas a top gk but other than that i dont see any real depth and defo dont see them finishing above us..

    we can take them..

  32. By the way, well done to England with their 3-0 nothing win over Bulgaria. And it must be said well done to Wales!!! How many times have you heard that line? I’ll get my coat……

  33. JJ,

    it’s a shame that barring a miracle at our camp and disaster(s) at MU, MC and Chavs, 4th is pretty much the limit for us this season, perhaps with a cup on top of that…

  34. SUGA3 – Wipe your chin as you have crap all over it.

  35. “Rooney, Suaraz, Carroll, Aguero, Young, Gerrard and Silva – the Premier League brightest stars
    The Barclays Premier League season is under way and some of the greatest footballers in the world – a few of them new to the English game – have made a stunning impact. Here, Sportsmail’s team of writers select the players who they think will stand out from the crowd in this campaign.”

    I told you they were fucking idgits, the whole lot of them.

    Andy Caroll? The cheating diving scum who could only shove Koscielny into a back spasm and spent the entire game in Vermaelen’s pocket? And when was the last time Gerrard played, let alone had an impact on a game…Oh – wait, he was sent off some time last year against United.

  36. Reach for a ‘sick back’, Darius? You looking for time off work?

  37. I just read the BBC report of Arsenal’s transfer day activity and for the 1st time saw in print this appalling quote “Pete Wood, the man behind the respected fan website Le Grove….”
    Respected! The site that stokes xenophobia, racism, and imbecility and is proud of it. Tells us a whole lot about the BBC.
    This club has a huge war to fight this season. It is not merely opposing teams. It is the the press, the football establishment, the refs and fans who believe the nonsense.
    Lets do our fighting on the pitch.

  38. @Irish – I’m taking a leave of absence in writing – though I’ll open Stone Cold Towers very shortly.

  39. LOL – Consols – I had the time off this week – back on Monday. You think I should have taken off more time?

  40. Where is Van Persie, Wilshire, Sagna, Vermaelen or Szczesny on that list of Daily Heil love children.

  41. irish,

    thank you for your valuable contribution, but if you think we can challenge for the league, you may want to check inside your head, because there is waaaay more crap in there…

    straws, beams and all that…

  42. For those of you who do not know, our new left back put Roberto Carlos out to pasture as he was that good. In 09 he was picked for the FIFA Federation Cup ( who knew?) in South Africa and played 4 games before being subbed by Dani Alves. He was then dropped by Dunga (remember him?) for the WC. Then the WC dropped Brazil. Then Uruguay win the Copa America. Shoulda stuck with Santos!!!!

  43. er, no, he did not, RC had simply retired…

    that being said, he is a massive improvement over the headless chicken Clichy and permacrock headless chicken Gibbs…

  44. Good point about the retaining of trophies (or not). I think the most disappointing one for me was 91-92, when a pretty average Leeds side ended up winning it.

  45. Yogi, I have tried to understand the Media’s bias against Arsenal over the years. A small part of the bias I would guess comes from the fact that the team has a French Manager who, at times, gesticulates from the sidelines reinforcing attitudes about the ‘Latin manner.’ What I really think throws the English Media into a frenzy is the Arsenal Youth Program which pretends to cast children into the fray against the manhood of England! What an absolute afront! Still more galling must be the fact that ‘the children’ don’t cost the club a bloody fortune.

    What will shut the Media up are good performances. And even then there howls may reach a shrill level. To hell with them. Lets play football.

  46. SUGA3 – when did I say we would challenge for the league or not as the case may be? Yet you write us off so soon. Just saying it is early yet. This time last year all the idiot pundits were saying Chelsea were running away with the league and then they collapsed. Is it Utd’s turn this year? Or citeh’s?

  47. SUGA3,
    You are correct in as much as 4th is most likely where we will end up.
    The point is ,is that it is not inconceivable that we could come 3rd ,2nd or even win it,There is hope,Given the financial muscle of the other three ,hope is an achievement in itself.
    No other team has any hope at all.
    Given the realities,hope will do for me.

  48. Have to say I’m feeling a lot more positive about the season after these additions. Don’t think it’s a case of ‘4th place can’t be ruled out’, more that we should be favourites ahead of Liverpool and Sp*rs and need to see if we can go better than that, though that’ll be a tall order.

    Would like to see Wenger experiment with some tweaks to the formation to try and create/exploit spaces between opposition midfield and defences.

    Something like a 4-1-2-1-2 or 4-1-3-2 (just checking they both add up to 10!)…

  49. george,

    to be honest, I am happy with whatever position we end up in, as long as I will see the players leaving their hearts on the pitch…

    thing is that I am expecting 100% application from the manager and maximum utilisation of the resources available…

    as well as top performance from the commercial team, money is the lifeblood of the top club, whether you like it or not!

    me and my mate did the Benfica stadium tour y’day and I have to say that they are miles ahead in the terms of merchandise, media, etc.

  50. The press is suddenly valuing vulgar spending anf advocating city as the norm. Is almost like the papers do city commercials. No journalist with integrity can defend city’s spending. Most jounos know this, they are not stupid, yet they write as they do. One has to ask whos agenda this is. And is the third pillar of power as neutral as one could wish?
    Especially with the back drop of the recession.

  51. Poodle,

    panem et circenses springs to mind, in the time of recession, you have to up the latter bit to keep the public occupied…

  52. George – “Hope is an achievement in itself” – really? Hope is never an achievement were a sports team is concerned, it is simply a sad excuse were belief has failed. I suppose every silver lining has a cloud, no?

  53. Poodle – if you know its wrong and continue doing it, I’d argue that stupidity is a plausible explanation.

  54. Poodle – Yet when SAF beats us with teenagers they rave about that. Which is which I wonder? I think its all BS personally.

  55. James M

    I too would like to see Wenger experiment more with formations this season, we have the players now to do that. More attacking formations like 4-1-2-3

    sagna————-mert—verm————santos

    —————————song

    ———arteta————————-wilshire

    CYPark—————————————–Gervinho
    ————————–RVP

    or even 4-3-1-2

    Sagna————-mert—Verm————-santos

    ———ramsey——-song———wilshire

    ————————arteta
    —————walcott———rvp

    The current team is now crying out for these tactics now that Cesc has gone.

  56. Interesting to see that Peter Wood (aka Pedro) peddles advertising on the web and has wrtitten for most main media accounts – see his Lindekin account. No wonder his negative diatribes are permeating the media – he does it for a living and to get noticed.

  57. Northbank – yep the second formation you put down was what I had in mind.

    Gives an opportunity to play 2 strikers. On paper it looks quite narrow but the width can come from the full-backs (esp. Santos).

    This means we’d need disciplined performances from Song/Frimpong and the 2 alongside or just in front of them. Players would have to take responsibility for filling into holes left by the full backs attacking.

  58. just a thought to put out there- all in all we’ve strengthened in every position except one. In goal, the same players, but szcz and even fabianski have stepped up, in defence we’ve got santos for clichy, jenkinson for eboue and mertesacker in, in midfield fabregas for arteta and benayoun ( the only weakened spot ), and nasri for gervinho and chamberlain ( we’re stronger there obviously cos nasri played mainly on the wing ), and lastly, in attack, miyaichi for vela, park for bendtner. Plus all the young-ish players have got one more years experience. Overall looking good! Bring on swansea!

  59. Kenyan 1-2 in the mens 1500 metres.

  60. JamesM

    Exactly, I would envisage Sagna/or Jenks and Santos being used as wing backs in that formation, I would like to see it used against some of the weaker EPL teams. I would go even further and suggest a much more attacking side with a 3 -4 -3 along the lines of:

    sagna——————–mert——————-santos

    ramsey———–song——-Frimp————wilshere

    or even, in my biggest fantasy line up, 3-3-4

    sagna——————mert——————-santos

    wilshere—————arteta—————–ramsey

    Gerv————————————————Park
    —————–rvp—————-walcott

    But that would be taking it too far……… just a fantasy of mine…… but arteta was a holding mf before changing to attacking mf…… ahhh dreams eh.

    ——–Park————–rvp—————–ryo

  61. @Kenyan – the medals table seems to be looking well for Kenya hauling in everything in their path. Shame Wanjiru isn’t around to take his place in this hall of fame.

  62. @ Kenyan gunner,

    good race.

    @ aclf’ers, love the optimism.

  63. Are you sure that Mertesacker agreed a contract with the Arsenal for when his contract ran out? If the Bild got proof of that, that’s definite tapping up.

    And I think the tragedy is that we didn’t buy players like this last season, when it could’ve been the difference between a Premier League trophy and 4th place. And that we’re buying them this season, when it’s the difference between 6th place and 4th place.

    Guess that’s the priorities of this Club.

  64. Darius, tume chill na mambo ya Ocampo. It’s on tv the whole day.

  65. well endowed gooner

    thats a theory ive had for a while..

    we seem to wait until our top 4 status is in jepordy before we use our muscle in the market..

    arteta and mertezacker have come a window too late i feel, we could have done with them last year but ho hum..
    we seen the affects the last few days of the window did to the fans and the clubs confidence and we look a stronger outfit for it..

    heres hoping the club push on and act this agressively in the next few windows and build on this team and not wait until it falls apart again..

    the warning signs have been there a while lets hope its a lesson learned..

  66. @Kenyan. WOW – I’d fogotten about the Ocampo 6. It was a comedy show last time they were at the Hague. You got the sense some of them thought they were being charged with stealing chicken feed. Maybe someone should have told them only employees of Murder Inc, torturers, rapists and genocide commiting punks get the pleasure of Ocampo.

  67. and remember we are only 1 piont worse off compared to the results against the same teams last year.

  68. Yeah, Yogi is not just feeling the heat,he is reeling.pegging us for 4th after just 3 games is proof.wit 35 games more to play the assumption from yogi and co travellars is dat united,city and chelsea would DEFINATELY drop less points than us!ffs.its just 3 games.we are challenging for the title. And lets get this straight,the korean captain is better than walcot.my main concern is kos.dat lad is so good it’d be sad to see him lose out to per because of the hysterics on the need for a tall defender.

  69. ace
    i dont feel thats the attitude we can take anymore

    the fact is we havent won the league in years and weve not even come close..weve scared utd a couple of times but we always fall short way way short..

    the fans expect and the players cant handle the pressure..therefore there should be no pressure..

    its a new team, just let them play..cant keep demanding the trophies when the squads not strong enough compared to others..

    forget about chelsea utd and city, lets just try finish above everyone else..you never know we might suprise a few ppl but as far as the pl is concerned theres only 3 teams in it and we aint one of em..

    yet..

  70. I was talking to my mate over some beer last evening,and the talk went to that of formations,My wife overheard and chipped in “George,I thought you favoured the higgle de piggilty formation”
    What are you talking about Darling,said I.
    “The one where everyone plays in everyone else’s position” she replied

    Clever girl ,I thought.But then I was pissed.

  71. Good blog, partucularly like the ‘sum of two parts’ observation

  72. @ pedantic George

    That’s the state my tactical nouse is usually at it’s best….. or is that loudest?

  73. Irish ,perhaps I meant “realistic hope” rather than “expectation”

  74. lol george

    eboue was the poster boy of the higgledypiggledy formation..
    luckily hes gone..

  75. “higgledypiggledy formation.”
    I must sound better in Dutch.I think they invented it.

  76. Looking at some goals on YouTube, well I know that San Marino aren’t real opposition, but RVPs goals were the goals of a “fox in the box” predator, but he was able to go deep and play a big part in the build up for others. I thought Chu’s headed goal from the corner shows something we need more of, firstly he drifted away from his marker at a setpiece, then put his head in there close to a flying boot in order to score. Forget Monaco, let’s see what he can do with better service!

  77. they did indeed george…

    you need the right players to pull it off properly though and it appears at the minute they all play for one team..and one nation..

  78. Great post Yogi:

    I think we can definitely overtake Liverpool. I also hope that Chelsea will continue to wilt similar to last season. The age of their squad and their level of motivation certainly were against them last season. Knock out stages in the CL and 3rd place would be an excellent season and would allow us to build towards something better in years to come.

    I hope the boss puts a very high priority on the CC and FA cup this season. Adding a trophy would be huge for this squad and getting that monkey off our backs would be a boost for confidence.

  79. Jon Jon @ 12:57:

    absolutely spot on. In the past we have not been very good at learning lessons so lets hope this time is different.

  80. Well perhaps “halfypiggledy” then.
    RVP,Andrei,TV5,Jack and the boy from Brazil,can do it .That is half a team

  81. Great post. Keeping it real as usual.

    This thing about the media representation of Arsenal keeps croppinig up. I for one don’t bother much with the media when it comes to Arsenal and select my viewing carefully. Its always a source this or a friend of the player said this and when the they are calling Le Grove a respected website, as Shotta points out, it proves once again, they know nothing. Whatever they think will get the most attention will be published, because at the end of the day its all about advertising and revenue. Its nice to see YW and others challenging sensationlist media opinion, because the more people who realise what parasites they are, the better. They need us more than we need them.

  82. * advertising, revenue and political agenda – forgot to mention that!

  83. I hate these international breaks.

  84. Just contributing to the Arsenal Asian presence. I live and work out of Saigon, Vietnam and I’m a daily drinker of this healthy trough.

    United are unfortunately the top tits in this part of town but i would have to say Arsenal are next in line. Premiership football in madness out here. Some are even able to spurt out the full Stoke or Bolton line up from the weekend. Something i definitely cannot proclaim to doing. Seeing the kind of reception the team got in Malaysia is no surprise and would possibly be equalled here in Vietnam! Arsenal also have some very good Academies out here and as far as i know they are the only foreign club actively involved in football development here. Arsenes influence on football development far exceeds the M25. Actually the next time you see a game at the Emirates, take a second look at some of the electronic advertising on show during the game. Some of it is in Vietnamese. Arsenal are talking but perhaps not always with a North London accent.

  85. bill
    its amazing what a spending spree can do..
    it was only a few days ago we couldnt wait for the break cos we were all over the place..then in a space of a few hours we want the swansea game now..right now..

  86. Hi All

    The more the media write us off the better. They have dismissed our signings and big up Spuds for holding on to Modric stubbornly and not sell a wantaway player and use the 40 mio to strengthen. Moyes who is a one of the most astute manager in the league knows that once the player’s heart is not in it he sells him. Daniel Levy holding on to Modric is lauded by the bias media. . Well we shall see. I for one am glad that we sold Cecs and Nasir when their heart wasn’t in it and brought in players although may not deem as good but really want to play for The Arsenal. The team needs to fight as a unit and not have good players doing us a favour by playing for us. Thank you but no thanks. They can all go for all I care, The same goes for you Mr.. Bendtner ‘I am the best in the world’ and do not let the door hit you on the way out.

    I for one am happy with all our signings and wish it was done a season or even 2 seasons earlier. As for winning things , the football is round and a heavy dose of luck is needed by any team in order to win anything no matter how much money they had spent. I am just happy that we have spent sufficiently to make us competitive.

    No Fear We Are The Arsenal!!!

  87. I noticed that Remonstrate, the Vietnamese advertising I mean.

    What’s it for? I assumed betting.

  88. Is jack ready to be our trequartista?

  89. Much of the negative press reporting could be improved by a more proactive public relations operation.

    Arsenal seem to have employed an army of Marketing, Legal, and other back office staff, yet nobody seems to want to cosy up to the press and get some of them on-side.

    Great manager though he is, Wenger is not the most charismatic performer when it comes to talking to the media.

    Old ‘Arry, down at the Lane, will stop and have a chat with the tabloid hacks through his car window, the press love it even though he talks utter rubbish. He’s perceived to be one of the boys.

    Sky’s apparantly successful attempts to point out that Wenger seemed to be breaking his touchline ban, during the Udinese first leg, was particularly reprehensible, as was the way in which Song was vilified for the stamp on the awful Barton whilst at the same time depicting the same thug as a loveable rogue.

    Maybe it’s time for a bit of pay-back, how about a chant of “Love Arsenal Hate Sky” at regular intervals throughout the next televised game. See how long they can ignore it.

    One other thing that may help is for our fans to noisily support the team and manager before, during and after games, don’t give the press sharks anything to feed on.

  90. I think it’s a real estate company. And the owner is extremely rich and infatuated with Arsenal. Apparently he has funded one of the Arsenal academies out in the midlands…
    I have a good source that i will clarify that with Consolsbob

    I don’t think its betting because although gambling is rife here from Roosters, to dogs to football its still illegal so i doubt it is betting.

  91. ktr
    maybe..ive been toying with that idea for a while..
    i like him where he is though cos those runs from deep just open everything up i dont know if he’ll get the space to do that further up the pitch..

  92. I would put Arteta or Arshavin in the hole. Wilshere and Rambo operating a bit deeper.

  93. Nice to have a variety of plausible options though…

  94. Its great to hear views and reports from people around the world regarding Arsenal. Keep up the good work, its much appreciated, and nice to hear.

    I would like to share a story also. I was visiting a family member in Thailand last year and a local boy was walking towards me with the words ‘get well soon’ emblazoned across his T-shirt. As he passed me I looked back to find ‘Ramsey’ written across his shoulders, football style.

    Another time I travelled to a small Muslim island in the south, wandering around the village one day, I noticed a food stall. I ordered a Papaya salad, only for it to be made and dished up by an elderly woman wearing the then current Arsenal away strip!

    Moments like that bring warmth to my heart.

  95. Lifelong Gooner | September 3, 2011 at 4:18 pm

    ‘Maybe it’s time for a bit of pay-back, how about a chant of “Love Arsenal Hate Sky” at regular intervals throughout the next televised game. See how long they can ignore it.

    One other thing that may help is for our fans to noisily support the team and manager before, during and after games, don’t give the press sharks anything to feed on’.

    I like both of those ideas, although a certain section of our fans are too busy protesting against the club! Its easy to say that they are playing into the media’s hands, but it makes you wonder if they are actually in it together.

  96. Still a complete prick I see, SUGA3.

  97. Arteta analysis from the excellent Everton blog Executioner’s Bong:

    http://theexecutionersbong.wordpress.com/2011/01/06/mikel-arteta-statistical-analysis/

  98. I like how fast our build up play from deep is when jack plays.we are more dynamic that way.however he has the tools to be just as effective as a no.10 where i think he’ll end up.he is like iniesta who can play as a CM/AM at the same time in a match.he is like the coolest baller on the planet.he is neither a CM/AM.jack is sort of like him which is quite exciting.

  99. Mattyboy,

    I find it really depressing to see the stands emptying as the last fifteen minutes approach, I remember, as a kid in the fifties, having to be carried out bodily by my dad ten minutes after the end in order to catch the bus home.

    I used to love the atmosphere and the excitement of the builld up before the game, cheering the Drum Major leading the Police Band up and down the pitch as they played some stirring marches. Every body stamping in time to the music in order to keep warm, great times.

    The Wonder of You? God help us!

  100. bonjour laura 😉

    ktr yeah if theres one player id compare jack to it would be iniesta..

    jack does have the tools to play georges higglepiggle system..

  101. Bit statty that but paints a good picture of Arteta’s versatility and the impact his accurate passing has had on Everton. Not unlike Cesc really. Basically confirms what we already know – he is an excellent passer. Football under Arsene is passing in many respects, so should be a good fit. Welcome, Mikel!

  102. miki is a fantastic passer with great reading of the game..great set pieces too..

    for years hes played in a team with average strikers and hes still stood out.. he’ll tear it up playing with rvp and theo

    a pass is only as good as the movement infront of it..

  103. Wenger said at the beginning of last season he wanted a rotating midfield 3.this meant that the components had to be able to attack and defend well.thats why song ended up so high up in the pitch at times.it requires lots of discipline and positional awareness.jack must be his ideal midfielder for that.Ramsey at one time showed lots of promise but he hasn’t reached that level yet.

  104. rambos struggling ktr.

    but your point of a midfield rotating three is why i was gutted we didnt get alonso a few year back..

    if we would have signed arteta too at that time we would have had arteta alonso and cesc all rotating we would have been deadly

  105. @ Lifelong Gooner – My Dad, when talking about Arsenal games of old remembers the Police Band as much as he does the matches! Wouldn’t it be great if they brought it back for a game this season to mark the 125th year of our great football club.

  106. In truth Arsene wants his entire team to be filled with more universal players than specialists.this will create a much more fluid team.Barça are ahead in those terms since they are heading to a point of playing with 10 midfielders at the same time.this will help them be much more fluid and dominant all over the pitch.against villareal they started valdes/mascherano/busquets/abidal/keita/cesc/thiago/iniesta/pedro/messi/sanchez.only abidal is a specialist in that team with the rest being midfielders.they can get away with it as they have brilliant players better than ours.i know Arsene would love to have such a team but its very difficult to make it work.

  107. *Abidal and valdez*

  108. JJ Rambo is struggling,but not for long I dont think

  109. Cruyff even toyed with the idea of not playing with a GK 😮

  110. Lifelong gooner – Arsene is actually very charming. His problem is he is French and intelligent. The stupid hacks really don’t like that. ‘arry is seen as one of them, so of course they identify with him. No amount of PR is going to change that.

  111. arsene would love that but theres two major downsides..
    1..those players arent easy to find and trying to ‘grow’ them all at once leads to years of no trophies and the best ones getting bored and naffing off..
    2..europe is technically superior to england whereas the english league is physically superior always has been always will be..in other words..barca have it easy in an easy league where nobody parks the bus…if they played against stoke week in week out for 38 games it wouldnt work..

  112. lol ktr i was going to say about valdes.. 😉

    george the goal last night may have helped his confidence but he has to start stamping his authority in games more..hes showing glimpes for a 5 minutes and the rest of the time hes nowhere..

    it helps if youve got better players around you but now weve signed arteta and if jack gets back quick rambo will need to work harder to cement his lace in the team

  113. JackWilshere Jack Wilshere
    Looking forward to speaking to Ian Wright on his radio show shortly…..

    I hope he tells him what a prick he has become

  114. JJ did you know that cesc plays behind messi like he did with rvp?it seems like puyol’s replacement in the starting 11 may end up being cesc as crazy as it seems 😮

  115. Aaron, is way far from the level he was at before that bastard committed a cowardly act on him. I’m confident he will get back to it but, it will take some time.

    Song, I’m I don’t trust and never have and that idiot stamp on Barton, just capped it off for me. Hopefully now that he isn’t guaranteed a place in the starting line he will do his job better but, I have been wishes for Frimpong to take over from him for the past 2 seasons and that I think will be better for Arsenal.

  116. I agree jj.that system would be very difficult to implement.they have very special players and are in a league that it can work.however deep down am sure wenger will do everything he can to have such a team.

  117. Oh dear.Least said the better,

  118. ive noticed ktr
    in fact, cesc is playing in front of messi and its messi droping deep and supplying cesc..

    50-50..

    but whatever..we’ve rebuilt and we’ll be a better team for it in the long run..

  119. Tony Cottee, trying to advise Wenger, and put firmly in his place with facts and reality by Iain Dowie, until sky producers advised them to cut his speech short.

    Bunch of cunts who make me sick. We don’t need you scotty parker or your cahill and come prem action again we shall see.

    Jamie Brownknapp, telling the world that we were crying out for britishness?! It’s not even a fucking word but, they have in in print? They make up their own words too as well as bullshit.

    Now that his dad has him after he couldn’t get any body else they should win the league then eh?

  120. Rvp after scoring 4 yesterday said he enjoyed playing in a free role…over to you Arsene.

  121. JJ ,water under the bridge now egh?

  122. JJ they are like a false 9 and false 10.barca are lucky that they have so many excellent players that they can make any system work.they can switch to any formation within the blink of an eye without changing personnel.

  123. Ramsey is not struggling. I think he did very well against Manchester United despite the fact that we got clobbered. If you compare him to other young midfielders in the league, Anderson, Cleverly and Henderson, he’s classier and more aware of what’s going on in the pitch. With all the new players, and the lift that provides, I back Aaron to be one of our best performers this season.

  124. definatley water under the bridge.
    dirty water that should have been sold the year before..

  125. Gainsbourg69 | September 3, 2011 at 6:02 pm

    I so hope too. I see Wilshere, and the level that he is on now as one of the best in country soon to be global and it saddens me because Ramsey, would of been on par with him if that attack didn’t happen. But, your right that he is more clued up than most. I just just comparing his level to Wilshere’s.

    The whole country and the media help the others so much.

  126. Gainsbourg69 | September 3, 2011 at 6:02 pm

    I so hope too. I see Wilshere, and the level that he is on now as one of the best in country soon to be global and it saddens me because Ramsey, would of been on par with him if that attack didn’t happen. But, your right that he is more clued up than most. I just just comparing his level to Wilshere’s.

    The whole country and the media help the others so much.

  127. Rambo is struggling.
    He is dewlling on the ball more than he did,And I also think he is slowing the game down ,as Cesc did,Perhaps he is trying to be like Cesc?
    But I also believe he will be superb with game time.

  128. barca are also lucky that the refs blow in their favor for everything..
    its got so bad people are now getting sent off for shooting at their goal..

    one only has to remember the barca madrid debacle last year to realise they are not only great players but a bunch of oscar winners as well..

    wouldnt work in england..

    id rather watch stoke and blackburn kick lumps out of eachother than watch a bunch of greasy fuckers roll around on the floor for 90mins..

  129. JJ it works in England for Rooney and Gerrard ,well enough.

  130. rambo will get there but hes had a dissapointing start to the season..

    our best midfielder v man u was le coq..

    rambo went missing big time..

    and although rvp plays awesome up front for us id love him to play number 10 and drop a little deeper but for that to work we’d need another 25 goal a season hit man and chamakh aint it..chamakh dont even know where the pen box is at the minute so it rules it out..unless theo shows he can control a ball or unless we sign someone like benzema, rvp stays where he is..

  131. “id rather watch stoke and blackburn kick lumps out of eachother than watch a bunch of greasy fuckers roll around on the floor for 90mins..”

    Really?

    If Blackburn and Stoke were all that was on the menu,I would rather starve to death.

  132. I always remember how good ramsey was in 09/10 away to wolves.he was even better than cesc that day.its sad to see him struggling so much right now.if he had not broken his leg there would’ve been no need for Arteta.

  133. yeah george thats right some english player get away with murder but its nowhere near as bad as the continent..

    fucking hell its like the rules of basketball have started to creep in the game in some countries..

    before long nobody will be allowed to tackle at all and forget city and chelsea killing the game..once tackling is outlawed the games fucked..

  134. LA,

    a prick? me?

    all I have said was that I want my club to put the resources to the best possible use, hell, even praised some of the new signings, did you even read what I wrote?

    thought not…

  135. george the point i was making is it dont matter how good the teams are who are playing if the ref is blowing every 2 mins and players are spending more time on the floor than on their feet when they havent even been touched id rather watch two shit teams play long ball..

  136. I dont see why a top 3 finish shouldnt be acheivable? Anything more would be miraculous, really, given the spending of other clubs.

    I am going to get behind the new boys, of course (just got me Blackburn tickets today! Cant wait to see Samba vs Mertesacker!)

    I would have like a couple of different signibgs to the ones we got and was surprised how fucking long it took the club to finally get the majority?

    BUT, it is completely pointless going on about that shit now, the window is closed and our new boys deserve support and to at least have a few games under their belts before getting written off and slated.

    UTA!

  137. I see Scotland are up in arms about a so called dodgy pematly against them (Edudao all over again!) Yet Charlie Adam almost broke a Czech players ankle in the box and no pen was given.

    Yet the Jocks are all apolplectic as usual, bunch of twats.

    Wont be long before the Scottish First Minister gets involved

  138. its gotta be embarrasing..
    i mean..look at drogba..grown man..16 stone and hes rolling round on the floor in front of millions of people and hes only been shoulder charged..

    if it was me youd have to hit me with a cricket bat to keep me down..especially with everyone watching….

    and that happens in every single one of barca’s games..not just one player either..the lot of them do it and its ridiculous that they even get a foul..

    puffs..

  139. Dex do you have a drink in Blackburn before the game?

  140. Lol.racist and homophobic all at once.

    Just kidding by the way.I know you are neither, 🙂

  141. Not sure George, its a 12.45pm kick off! Depends what time we get there? Why, is that your neck of the woods mate?

    I have just seen that we play the spuds on a Sunday at 7.45pm too. Thats a weird one innit?

  142. Im quite excited by park though i can’t put a finger on it why.he may end up playing a bigger role this season than we think like hernandez for the mancs last season.maybe rvp will get a free role with him around?

  143. Yes Dex, there is an away only pub just across from the ground “The Fernhurst”

  144. Thanks man. Was at Ewood last season george, I am sure that was an early KO too. Normally get there just before ko and straight out afters!

    Not bee to that pub before, will check it out if we get to the ground early enough. My mate I am going with always gets us there with seconds to spare though!

  145. Goonerton, I think Ramsey is just getting back to the level he was at before the assault. When England played Wales last season Ramsey was the only player on the pitch doing anything for Wales. When they put Vaughan to play in the middle, and he had someone to play off of, the game went from a drubbing to a pretty good match. The Manure match late in the season was also a good showcase of what Ramsey is capable of doing.

    The only way I can see that he’s struggling is because we’ve been fielding some pretty thin squads and he’s had to play a role which doesn’t suit his style. The first leg against Udinese he was playing alongside Rosicky and he had to sit in the middle creating. As soon as Rosicky came off, he started to wander around and he looked a hell of a lot better. Against Montenegro the other day he scored one and was popping up all over the place as well. What can I say? I just think he’s going to be a massive player. This season he’ll come in for Arteta in the CC, FA cup and CL games if we’re leading the group. It’ll be like Jack’s year at Bolton except he’ll be with us.

  146. Gains I think he and Jack will share game time.Dont see them playing together to much.

  147. Well worth a read this, had me cracking up at the sheer stupidity of some footballers.

    http://www.rte.ie/sport/soccer/2011/0828/swansea_tatea_freakfootballinjuries.html

  148. Suga, I haven’t been that impressed either with the Gazidis team. ManU gets as much or more for their training shirt sponsorship than we do from the Emirates deal. I wonder what it would take to broadcast games via internet that aren’t broadcast in the UK or internationally. If there was a pay per view or subscription option for that, lots of international fans would sign up. The commentators in the media are so bad that we would pay to watch the club commentators if they got rid of Stuart Robson. The problem to this point is that Arsenal rely upon supporters paying to attend matches more than any other big team.

  149. david lacey is wrong
    we won the fa cup in 2002 beating chelsea and again in 2003 beating southampton

  150. Limestone,

    I think the shirt sponsorship can be put aside in this equation, simply because we have got quite a bit of wonga upfront and it’s only right to see out this deal…

    it’s the stuff like commercial partners and club TV where we are lacking, how can Fox say that there is no point in having a proper TV channel because we can’t be ‘regional’ like Red Sox?

    I reckon setting up a PPV service would be fairly easy to do, the rule of thumb being broadcasting the games that are not available on any of the particular country’s digital platforms, I would happily pay the club, say £5 per game and there would be many more who would prefer this to some dodgy streams…

  151. Of course the shirt sponsorship can’t be redone, but when it is renewed we have to take advantage of Europe vs. League, training vs. match shirts and anything else that is possible. If we sign a long term deal again, we need elevator clauses that require that it be equal to the average of any new deals signed with competing teams in Europe and the PL. The best thing we could do to boost our commercial sponsorships would be to win a title.

    As far as the PPV, I would certainly pay to watch any matches not broadcast in my region. Many of us would. We already produce TV and commentary for replaying matches on Arsenal player, so the only costs here are legal administrative and IT. If it is legally possible, we should be doing this before anyone else as we have the most internet connected fan base of all.

  152. SUGA3

    How do you lay the blame for deals that were done before he joined at his feet?
    A deal is a deal,no?
    If they have a five year plan ,and are ahead of that after two years WTF do you expect?

  153. George – The irony is that in as much as SUGA3 actually manages to post a link to a very interesting article, he himself is unable apparently to either appreciate it or even understand it properly. Still a very interesting read though.

  154. Song not going to ACN as Cameroon never qualified. Sad for Song but happy days for us Gooners.

  155. I have just seen that we play the spuds on a Sunday at 7.45pm too. Thats a weird one innit?

    Would be very weird if it was true.

    KO is 16.00

  156. Regarding the retention of Trophies. Whilst Arsenal’s record is pretty lamentable, didn’t we retain the FA Cup in 2003 after beating Southampton in the final.

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